Solicitors Slater and Gordon has announced that an out of court settlement has been reached in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation, whereby £193m will be made to the claimants by the Volkswagen Group, plus a separate contribution towards the Claimants’ legal costs and fees.
The Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) was excluded from the list of applicable companies in the European Courts of Justice’s 4 May 2022 ruling annulling import tariffs against truck tyres produced in China. Reading the small print of the ruling reveals why. The initial ruling didn’t completely apply to ZC Rubber and so action against it couldn’t be annulled. In other words, the latest anti-dumping annulment is inadmissible for ZC Rubber, because nothing was applied in the first place.
The South African Competition Commission tyre price fixing hearing got underway in South Africa on 28 January 2022. The Competition Commission names Apollo Tyres South Africa (Pty) Ltd; Goodyear South Africa (Pty) Ltd; Continental Tyres South Africa (Pty) Ltd; Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd; and South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (Pty) Ltd its case and alleges that from around 1999-2007, the respondents “discussed and agreed to fix the prices of passenger, light truck, bus, off-the-road, agricultural and earthmover tyres”. This was allegedly done through the SATMC, an association for tyre manufacturers in South Africa. The respondents were members of the SATMC.
The DVSA has banned Jamie Smith of Rookhill Road, Pontefract for claiming to have ‘completed’ an MOT test and issuing a pass certificate for a Mercedes-Benz C van at a garage in West Yorkshire when it had been seized by Spanish police for not having valid tax or MOT. Smith has also been sentenced to a 12-month community order and banned from testing. According to the DVSA, the van was one of nine vehicles Smith falsely issued MOT certificates for.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co’s Malaysian tyre factory has been under scrutiny for at least two years following questions relating to working conditions. At the end of November, US Department of Homeland Security officials interviewed local staff as part of investigations that “could lead to US prosecutions”, according to Reuters, which added Goodyear faces “related lawsuits and two ongoing investigations by regulators in Malaysia and the United States, each looking into potential exploitation of foreign workers.”
In response to the investigation and related reporting, Goodyear issued the following statement: “Goodyear takes seriously any allegations of improper behaviour and is committed to ensuring that our business practices and those of our associates, our supply chain, and our vendors adhere to both our policies and all applicable legal requirements.”
Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. has announced that it is increasing the prices of all its rubber carbon black products sold in the EMEA region effective 1 August 2021 or “as permitted by customer contracts”.
Goodyear and De Klok Banden have reached an agreement to increase the Dutch wholesale group’s control over parallel imports, also known as “grey market” tyres. In a statement delivered exclusively to Tyrepress.com and its sister websites in the EU, Goodyear affirmed its resolve to tackle “illegal (grey) tyre imports” using “legal actions”. The manufacturer says it has already taken legal action against a number of European market distributors. It asserts its right to control imports to the European Union from external markets, including, as of 1 January 2021, the UK under trademark or other legal rights. The full statement reads: “Goodyear announced today that it has reached an agreement with De Klok Banden B.V., S & H Tires B.V and their affiliated companies to resolve a parallel import case between the two groups. The agreement resolves the pending trademark infringement claim initiated in Q3 2020 by Goodyear following seizure of tyres often referred to as grey market imports.
Finnish prosecutors have decided to press charges against six former members of the Nokian Tyres plc board as well as past president & chief executive officer Ari Lehtoranta; all were associated with the company in the period between 2015 and 2016. It additionally intends to impose a corporate fine upon the company, to a maximum of 850,000 euros. The prosecutor has also decided to press charges for suspected abuse of insider information against four persons who were employees of Nokian Tyres in 2015. In a statement supplied to Nasdaq Helsinki yesterday, Nokian Tyres stresses that “all persons charged deny their involvement in any criminal activity”
On 29 June Bridgestone Corporation (Bridgestone) announced that it won a long-running trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit against Brazilian retread company New Tyre Remoldadora De Pneus (New Tyre), in the São Paulo Court of Appeals.
Goodyear management has been convicted by the Amiens court for the unfair dismissal of 832 of its former employees. The manufacturer’s factory in Amiens Nord, France, which specialised in the production of agricultural tyres, closed in January 2014. The closure brought to an end a six-year stalemate between staff and management, with the loss of 1,143 jobs. The Thursday May 28 judgement saw the court ask for the provisional execution of the sentence, as requested by the employee’s lawyer, Fiodor Rilov. The amount of damages to be paid is not yet available. Goodyear management has indicated that it has taken note of the ruling, adding that it reserves “the right to appeal.”
Following initial claims earlier this year, a group of former shareholders and directors of retreader and commercial vehicle tyre supplier Vaculug have denied that financial accounts were manipulated ahead of its sale to Grantham Capital and launched their own legal action against the new owner.
On 14 February 2020, Schrader was found to have contributed to and induced infringement of Wasica Finance GmbH and BlueArc Finance AG’s 524 patent. The patent relates to tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) technology. As a result, the claimants were awarded US$31.2 million in royalty damages.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, according to Oscar Wilde. But businesses don’t tend to be so charitable in their interpretation of such actions. Indeed, industrial counterfeiting, copyright breaches and general contempt for intellectual property are all-too common. The most recent example of copyright dispute in the tyre industry saw one of the world’s largest and longest established tyremakers pitted against a relative unknown.